Monday, January 13, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

BSF thwarts ISI’s bid to dig tunnel
Anirudh Gupta

Along the Zero Line (Ferozepore), January 12
The BSF has thwarted an attempt of the ISI to construct a tunnel across the zero line of the Indo-Pakistan border near the border outposts of Kassoke and New Mohammadiwala. New Mohammadiwala is the last border outpost on the Indian side in Khemkaran sector, which is manned by 132 Battalion of the BSF.

Disclosing this, Mr S.N. Jain, Inspector-General, BSF, Punjab Frontier, told TNS that the “G” branch of the BSF got intelligence inputs that some Pakistan-based elements were making an effort to dig a tunnel across the international border to carry out their nefarious jobs. Mr Jain said on January 10, BSF troops swung into action and a massive search operation was initiated. On January 11, the BSF troops, accompanied by the “G” staff, came across a burrow dug in the area of the Kassoke border outpost, near border pillar No 183.

Mr Jain said there was a thick growth of “sirkanda” and wild grass near this border pillar between the international border and the cobra fencing. He said during foggy conditions, the BSF usually set the wild growth on fire so that anti-Indian agencies could not take advantage of it, but this time due to strategic reasons and mine installation, the process could not be carried out. He added that the distance of this crude hole from the international border was about 50 metres.

When a jawan was sent inside, it was revealed that this tunnel, which was about 2 ft in diameter, had been dug up to 20 metres towards the fence. BSF officials also recovered some digging equipment from the site. Mr Jain said the tunnel had no opening on the Pakistani side.

Highly placed sources in the BSF said certain anti-national elements, with the help of cross-border smugglers, were trying to dig this tunnel for the past 20 to 25 days, taking advantage of the inclement weather. The sources said in view of the foggy conditions, the BSF had intensified patrolling and had launched special operations to frustrate any attempt by ISI agents to sneak into the Indian territory, taking advantage of the inclement weather.

Mr Jain said in pockets where the cobra fencing had not been done due to topographical reasons, special boat nakas had been laid and round-the-clock vigil was being kept by BSF troops. He said after the withdrawal of Army troops from the forward locations, the BSF had reverted to the peace-time deployment and all border outposts, hitherto manned by the Army, had been brought back under the charge of BSF troops.

Mr Jain said to check smuggling and intrusion from across the border, the BSF was in the process of acquiring highly sophisticated ground sensor equipment, for which deliberations were on.

He said most of the smugglers active in this area earlier had shifted base to the Rajasthan border following the installation of cobra fencing along the Punjab border. The sources said during the past five years, four tunnels, which were under construction for trans-border smuggling and infiltration, had been detected.

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